If you follow our twitter feed you kept up with our updates over the checkpoints today. It was pretty exciting to see the Top 5 swapping places over the day. In the end the team of Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz put the hammmer down! Here is a quick debrief of the day with offical PR coming later on.
Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) celebrated a Volkswagen stage victory on the fifth leg of the “Dakar” ahead of their teammates Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D), to improve their overall ranking by one place.
De Villiers of South Africa is now ranked second overall, 2.24 minutes behind the new rally leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah/Tina Thörner (Q/S), and is the new leading Volkswagen driver in the field for the time being. Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) were at the front of the pack for several hundred kilometres of today’s leg, which featured altitudes ranging from 400 metres to 2,300 metres above sea level. The German pair eventually came second, securing their best result so far on this cross-country classic.
Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) likewise have reason to be pleased, having managed to supplant Mitsubishi driver Nani Roma to take fifth place in the overall rankings following their good performance on today’s turbulent 506-kilometre-long special stage from Neuquén to San Rafael in Argentina.
Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) have suffered a setback: after leading the rally for three days, they finished today’s leg 15.42 minutes behind the day’s winners and have therefore dropped two places in the overall rankings, to third. They now trail the front runners by 6.33 minutes.